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Character Build: The Divine Crusader

Tags: #Character Build Crusader  #Character Build Knight  #Character Build Hero  #Race:Imperial  #Rank:Exemplar  #Albino Skyrim Build  #Knights of the Nine  #Paladin 
  • Member
    March 11, 2013

    The province of Skyrim is in desperate need of a hero. Dragons are returning, a civil war is raging, and necromancers, bandits, and daedra worshipers pollute the land with their foulness. The Divines have therefore seen fit to send a champion, a successor to Pelinal Whitestrake and the Champion of Cyordiil,  The Last Dragonborn! Now he descends upon Skyrim, and the wicked shall know fear…

    The Divine Crusader

    I'm a big fan of paladin-type characters, so it should come as no surprise when I say that Knights of the Nine was my favorite DLC for Oblivion. In particular, I’m a big fan of the Armor of the Crusader that it added. Since Skyrim gives you plenty of opportunities to play the hero, especially with Dawnguard, I decide to do my own take on a holy crusader.

    Race: Imperial is ideal here as all of the skills that they get boosts to are skills that that the Divine Crusader uses.

    Stone: I like the Lady, for a nice boost to health and stamina regeneration.

    Stats: 2/3/1. All three stat areas are important to this build, but stamina slightly less so since it can be readily restored back via Respite.

    Quests: The Companions questline up to the completion of Proving Honor is a good choice, but don’t go any further than that so you can avoid becoming a Werewolf. Aside from that, the Main Quest and Dawnguard are good fits. Quests associated with the Divines, such as The Book of Love, Blessings of Nature, and Kyne's Sacred Trials, are good too.

    Shouts: Elemental Fury is good for swinging your Skyforge Steel Sword faster, as is Become Ethereal for avoiding ranged attacks, Fire Breath for dealing some damage, and Unrelenting Force for crowd control.


    One-Handed: The Crusader is a master of one-handed weaponry, wielding a sword for melee offense. Perk out the center tree.

    Heavy Armor: While the Armor of the Crusader could appear as either heavy or light armor, the former is much more appropriate for a paladin character. Grab all the perks in this tree.

    Block: To further augment his defenses, the Crusader uses a shield in his offhand. Grab all the perks in this tree too.

    Smithing: For improving weapons and armor, naturally. While you should be able to reach the armor cap easily without Smithing perks, you should grab Steel Smithing for improving your sword more.

    Destruction: The Crusader uses his mastery of fire to burn the wicked and the undead. Perk your way up to Expert Destruction and grab the fire related perks as well.

    Restoration: Easily the most important school of magic for a Paladin; used for healing, defense against magic, and for anti-undead spells. Perk your way up to Adept Restoration and grab both Respite and Regeneration too.

    Alteration: The Crusader is capable of coating himself in magical armor to further increase his defenses. For perks, you’ll want to aim for Apprentice Alteration and all three ranks of Magic Resistance.

    Enchanting: Since the Armor of the Crusader isn’t actually in Skyrim, we’ll have to create our own set. Perk your way up the center tree to Extra Effect.

    In total, that's 60 perks being used. However, with the addition of the 1.9 Patch, there is no more level cap, power leveling is easier than ever before, and you can get as many perks as you need to in order to create the ultimate paladin. Here are some suggestions on what else you can grab:

    Illusion: Novice – Master Illusion, Hypnotic Gaze, Animage, Kindred Mage, and Illusion Dual Casting. This will be used for Rally (should you choose to have followers) and Calm spells, the latter being used to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. Note: Should you choose to invest in Illusion magic, replace the Regen Health enchantment on the Ring of the Crusader with Fortify Illusion.

    Destruction: Master Destruction, Rune Master, Destruction Dual Casting, and Impact, to beef up your fire magic casting.

    Speech: Everything. This is for roleplay.

    Enchanting: Soul Squeezer/Siphon, to make weapon recharging a little easier.

    One-Handed: Bladesman and Bone Breaker (3/3), to represent the Crusader’s mastery of swords and maces.

    Other: All of the remaining perks in the Restoration/Alteration trees except for Mage Armor. This is just to round out your mastery of those two schools of magic.


    The original Relics of the Crusader have been lost to time. Instead, the Divines have given the Crusader the ability to enchant his equipment with two unique effects each. Before you get the Extra Effect perk, simply choose which effect you prefer. For the actual pieces to enchant, I recommend a set of Steel Plate Armor (it's the most knightly looking in my opinion), Silver Sword, Imperial Heavy Shield, and Gold Diamond Jewelry. I also recommend using a Skyforge Steel Sword for when you want to use Elemental Fury or don't want to waste charges on your other sword.

    Sword of the Crusader (Turn Undead/Banish)

    Shield of the Crusader (Block/Resist Magic)

    Helm of the Crusader (Alteration/Waterbreathing)

    Amulet of the Crusader (Destruction/Restoration)

    Armor of the Crusader (Resist Disease/Resist Poison)

    Gauntlets of the Crusader (Heavy Armor/Magicka)

    Ring of the Crusader (Health/Regen Health)

    Boots of the Crusader (One-Handed/Stamina)

    Regarding the Resist Magic Enchantment, I advise using the version of that effect that's obtained from disenchanting the Shield of Solitude as it has a higher magnitude.


    There’s two ways to approach combat initially. You can stay back, dual casting Destruction spells (Sun spells against undead, provided you have Dawnguard) and let enemies approach you. Alternatively, you can cast a flesh spell, Elemental Fury (if you’re using the Skyforge Steel Sword) and Flame Cloak (Stendarr’s Aura if you have Dawnguard and you’re fighting undead) and charge in. Once you get Block Runner you should do this with your shield raised, and you can knock over a few enemies this way one you get Shield Charge as well.

    Regardless, once you're in melee range, start hacking away. Use bashes to interrupt enemy power attacks, and use power attacks of your own to stagger enemies and break through blocks. Against stronger enemies, keep your shield up to block enemy attacks. Against large groups, blow some of them away with Unrelenting Force, or calm them down with Voice of the Emperor. If you run low on health (or stamina, once you get the Respite perk), keep your shield in one hand and start casting Healing, Fast Healing, or Close Wounds in the other to heal up.

    You won’t be using your enchanted Silver Sword a lot, but when you do (such as in Draugr infested dungeons), you’ll find yourself running out of charges quickly. Since casting the Soul Trap spell without the Apprentice Conjuration perk is pretty expensive in terms of magicka, I’d advise keeping a third weapon around enchanted with Soul Trap so you can collect souls to put in your soul gems for recharging. I used a Steel Mace enchanted with Fire Damage and Fiery Soul Trap called The Mace of the Crusader.

    Roleplaying a Paladin-type character is always fun. A lot of things are off limits to you: no conjuration, no stealing or crimes of any sort, no sneaking, and no Daedra worship, meaning you should stay far away from the Daedric quests. Conversely, you should always do what you can to aid the people, such as fighting off dragon attacks on towns, giving gold to the poor, and doing quests to help people. Your enemies are numerous, and include bandits, thieves, Daedra and their worshipers, necromancers, and mostly importantly, the undead. Eliminate them wherever your find them. Vampires are notable amongst the undead in that a single bite from them could draw you into their ranks. Should you contract Sanguinare Vampiris, immediately cure yourself. Likewise, you should stay away from Lycanthropy, so don’t go too far into the Companions questline and become a werewolf yourself. Overall, you should try to think of it as avoiding infamy points in Oblivion: gain too many and you will be unfit to wield the Crusader’s Relics. Most importantly though, you worship the Divines. Pick up their blessings whenever you can, as well as Voice of the Sky from reading the ten tablets on the way up to High Hrothgar.

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  • Member
    March 11, 2013
    While there is nothing like, new, about this build, it's amazing roleplay, and brings back ohhhhhhhhh sooooo much many Oblivon Builds (Some did a Gray Fox...guess who ;D) so you earned my like.
  • AJ
    March 12, 2013

    Another great build made by you. KOTN was my favourite expansion and I love the knights of the nine. +1

  • Member
    March 12, 2013

    Really good paladin build! 

  • March 12, 2013

    I really like this build. It brings back fond memories of Knights of the Nine. It reminds me quite a bit of the Crusader equipment, it might not be powerful or individually distinct from other builds, but by god is it a blast! I could see myself loving this build more if it used less Alteration and Destruction and instead focused on Restoration and maybe Speech. I love how the shouts are based on the Divines, though I think Arkay's shout should be less lethal (Marked For Death always seems cruel to me) and Kynareth should be granting Kyne's Peace for obvious reasons.

  • Member
    March 12, 2013

    Glad you liked it!  I'm not sure what you mean by focusing on Restoration more; this build ultimately takes every perk in the Restoration tree aside from Restoration Dual Casting. But yeah, you could definitely take away some perks from Alteration/Destruction and put them in Speech. As for shouts, I went with Marked For Death because a shout that weakens an opponents life force and has death in the name makes sense for the god of life and death. Aside from that, I couldn't think of any other shout that would make sense. For Kynareth, yeah, Kyne's Peace would have made more sense from a roleplay perspective, but I was trying to temper roleplay with gameplay, and Elemental Fury is a much more useful shout than Kyne's Peace. Of course, if you want to play this build yourself, there's nothing stopping you from making that switch yourself. For similar reasons, I decided to use Dragonrend for Akatosh instead of Call Dragon or Slow Time.

  • Member
    April 10, 2013

    Question, what about Destroy the Dark Brotherhood (Say Talos, Mara, or Dibella tasked you with killing Grelod for abusing the children)

  • Member
    April 11, 2013

    I was thinking about that. Killing Grelod isn't the most heroic of things to do, but if you justify it as a divine task in order to kill the Brotherhood then I think it would work.

  • Member
    April 24, 2013

    There is just a couple things I see about this build I would like to address: wouldn't a paladin-style build want to side with the Empire given that he would want to protect everyone and not fight to make Skyrim independent? And what about Meridia's Beacon? Do you leave it in the cave where you found it because she is a Daedra or take it to obtain the mighty Dawnbreaker to use on the undead plaguing Skyrim?

    All in all though, it is a nice build, I really like the idea of it, especially from an RP perspective.

  • Member
    April 24, 2013

    Glad you liked it! There are arguments for both sides of the Civil War, I don't really see siding with the Empire as protecting everyone though. Like I said, I personally decided to side with the Stormcloaks, but it's entirely your call. Leave Meridia's Beacon where you find it. Seeing as She was responsible for Umaril's near immortality, I doubt Pelinal would particularly like cooperating with Her anyway.